Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Daniel Maguire: 'preposterous and disingenuous'

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 26, 2011

Daniel Maguire is an unhappy man. Again. Or perhaps, still.

Maguire—who is inexplicably still allowed to teach theology at Marquette despite his abandonment of his priestly vocation, his relentless enthusiasm for unrestricted legal abortion, and his embarrassingly mediocre intellectual output— is distressed because Archbishop Timothy Dolan said some harsh things about him, and some kind things about Congressman Paul Ryan.

While serving the Church in Milwaukee, Archbishop Dolan wrote to rebuke Maguire for his public support of abortion and same-sex marriage. Maguire’s public stand, the archbishop wrote, was “totally at odds with clear Church teaching, Sacred Scripture, the magisterium, and Natural Law.” The ex-priest’s efforts to justify his position, Archbishop Dolan continued, were “preposterous and disingenuous.”

Daniel Maguire doesn’t like such blunt criticism. “He was rabid!” he says of his former ecclesiastical superior. Although Archbishop Dolan left Milwaukee more than two years ago, his words still rankle. So Maguire proceeds to strengthen the archbishop’s case, by launching another “preposterous and disingenuous” argument against Dolan.

The archbishop’s grave offense, in Maguire’s eyes, is his (Dolan’s) exchange with Congressman Ryan on the subject of the Republican lawmaker’s budget plan. While he did not endorse Ryan’s plans—and has since followed up with a clarification, underlining that no such endorsement was intended—Archbishop Dolan expressed appreciation for Ryan’s effort to address the nation’s financial crisis. The archbishop acknowledged that there are serious differences among well-intentioned people over the proper solutions to the crisis, and expressed his respect for Ryan’s views.

Maguire has no such respect for Ryan’s approach. Nor is he willing to acknowledge that good people differ on the best ways to revive the economy and to help the poor. This learned professor, who takes such pride in identifying himself as “pro-choice,” does not offer choices when it comes to economic policy. Those who disagree with him are evil.

Rather than offering any argument to support his outrageous charge that Ryan wants to rob the poor to help the rich, Maguire invokes the authority of 70 Catholic scholars who objected to the appearance of Speaker of the House John Boehner as commencement speaker at Catholic University. (A careful scholar might notice that John Boehner is not Paul Ryan, but Maguire does not trouble himself with such trivial distinctions.) In denouncing Boehner, Maguire says, these scholars were “in Jesus mode.” Lest anyone misunderstand his meaning, Maguire spells it out: Jesus would applaud the denunciation of Boehner.

That is terribly harsh judgment, entered against a man (Boehner) who takes his Catholic faith seriously—a man who fought back sobs as he told the Catholic University graduates about his lifelong devotion to the Virgin Mary. But Maguire does not shrink from harsh judgments. Indeed, the theme of his column (insofar as one can discern a theme of the rant) is that Archbishop Dolan should be harsh--in his judgment of Congressman Ryan. But not in his criticism of Dan Maguire. 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - May. 29, 2011 7:19 AM ET USA

    I can't believe this guy is still alive let alone still employed by the Catholic Church that he hates. Come on, leaders, oust him! Yes, it's hard but that's your job.

  • Posted by: impossible - May. 28, 2011 11:57 PM ET USA

    Does tenure require providing heretics an office larger than a broom closet or require providing him with any duty other than the sorting of paper clips? Is Marquette required to give him a place on their schedule? Seems to me the Bishop can and should do something to effectively put a stop to this type of nonsense.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2011 3:43 PM ET USA

    It seems that the dissenters who harangue the Church with regard to her positions on certain issues, have thin skins when the complement is returned. I find it very puzzling that such an person as the ex-priest Daniel Maguire is still in a teaching position in a Catholic university. The red flag should have been raised a long ago in relation to his pro-abortion and pro-same sexual marriage stances.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - May. 28, 2011 12:33 PM ET USA

    I had the "pleasure" of standing in 40 degree F weather a few years ago outside a local Jewish synagogue to protest Dan Maguire's appearance there, pushing his book that says all major religions have accepted abortion. My protest sign said "shame."

  • Posted by: mdepietro - May. 27, 2011 5:25 PM ET USA

    How much longer we must put up with this? Someone needs to make the point that liberal economic policies hurt the poor. The percentage of families below the poverty line 1932-1965 drops from 32% to 12%. After the "war on poverty" the rate of decline goes to 0 and the poverty rate stays at 12-14% for the last 46 years. Space does not permit further demolition of the thesis that conservative policies hurt the poor. One can only pray the an economically literate Bishop bothers to look at the data.

  • Posted by: - May. 27, 2011 10:37 AM ET USA

    'Preposterous and disingenuous'. I think that sums up Maguire's arguments (and all these sorts of arguments for abortion, sodomy, etc.) quite nicely.

  • Posted by: - May. 26, 2011 7:44 PM ET USA

    On what a careful scholar might notice, the principle of identity is a very abstract concept, very difficult to apply when you don't know what you are talking about!